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I Wanna Know You

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“Alec Lightwood is back from ALT. Simon said he heard Izzy Lightwood say that he’s back today,” Clary whispered conspiritively from her desk, keeping her eyes on her notebook, where she appeared to be following along with their ethics teacher’s lecture. In reality, she’d listed the vocabulary words and then started doodling her name and her friends names in various scripts.

Magnus looked up at her from where he was actually attempting to take adequate notes and frowned. “Did she say why Alec was at ALT?”

Clary shook her head and shrugged. “Simon said Izzy didn’t talk about it. But I heard Lydia Branwell telling another cheerleader that Jonathan threatened to leak Izzy’s nudes and Alec threatened him with a knife and then Jonathan turned it on him and that’s why he’s got that scar above his eye now.”

“Right, because that sounds completely plausible and not at all ridiculous.”

“Weirder shit has happened, Magnus. When I met Jace, he was hiding in a fucking trashcan waiting to scare Alec after archery practice. I thought he was on crack.”

“Well, you know what they say about the Lightwoods’ money-”

“For the last time, Magnus, Mr. and Mrs. Lightwood are not part of the drug cartel, they’re just regular normal evil rich people-”

“I’m just saying, my dad has had deals with these people, and we all know anyone meeting with my dad is bad news.”

“I’m sure it’s just, like, garden variety extortioning and political blackmail, i don’t think Jace and Izzy’s parents are actually hardcore enough to be moving bricks of cocaine. Maryse drives a minivan.”

“Ted Bundy drove a minivan, Clarissa, and he was fucking killing people.”

“Magnus, that’s not, I don’t think that’s true, didn’t he drive a sedan?”

“Mr. Bane! Ms. Fairchild! Would you care to share with the class what news is so important that it couldn’t wait ‘til the end of my class?”

Instead of looking ashamed, Clary turned her bright countenance toward their teacher and smiled, the gleam of her braces softening the frown on the teacher’s face. “Miss Richards, what kind of car did Ted Bundy drive?”

---

By the time the bell rang for lunch, Magnus had heard all sorts of increasingly ludicrous stories about how and why Alec and Jonathan ended up at ALT. Descriptions of the damage Alec had taken during the mystery incident ranged from: “he has a slight scratch above his eye” to “his left eyebrow got cut off completely” and, of course:

“I heard Jonathan gouged your pretty boyfriend’s eye out and now he’s got an eyepatch,” Tessa grinned, waggling her eyebrows at Magnus as she fell into step  beside him.

Magnus rolled his eyes. “He is not my boyfriend, he doesn’t even know I exist.”

“Magnus Bane,” Catarina admonished, appearing at Magnus’ other side. “Everyone knows you exist, be reasonable. You were the first person to come out as queer when we were seventh graders.”

When the trio reached the cafeteria, Tessa turned toward the Senior Pit, a lowered seating area in front of the stage, which included booths running along the edges. Her boyfriends, Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale were waiting for her in their usual corner booth. Tessa waved at Cat and Magnus as she hopped lightly over the half-wall surrounding the Pit and dropped easily into her seat.

Magnus stared longingly after her for a moment, eyeing the plush seats of the booths in the Pit.

“Next year,” Cat said, patting Magnus on shoulder. “Next year we’ll be in the Pit, and you’ll be able to stare at Alec Lightwood in close range.”

“Yeah,” Magnus huffed, “And Raph and Simon and Clary won’t be able to sit with us, so it’ll just be you and Ragnor harassing me about my nonexistent crush on Alexander Lightwood.”

“Clary barely even sits with us now, she’s always off somewhere making out with her Lightwood,” Cat pointed out. Her and Magnus had made it to their usual table now, and Clary was indeed missing, only Raphael, Simon, and Ragnor seated together.

Raphael Santiago was a sophomore pretending he hated everyone. He was the closest thing Magnus had to a little brother, and Magnus loved him as such.

Simon Lewis and Clary Fairchild were both bug-eyed freshmen, new additions to Magnus’ little social circle, courtesy of Raphael’s not-so-secret-quasi-platonic infatuation with Simon. Although, Clary had been spending less time at their lunch table now that Jace Lightwood had made his interest in her crystal clear. He’d chased her around like a lost puppy for weeks, trying all sorts of increasingly outlandish pick-up lines and schemes before he finally succeeded with the simplest plan: telling her how he honestly felt about her, in private, without all the dramatic flair.

Jace Lightwood’s social proximity brought with him the proximity of his siblings, who sort of orbited around the popular kids while only really being friends with their extended family. Jace, Izzy, and Alec were cousins to Will Herondale, distantly, Mark and Helen Blackthorn, and, on the other side of their family: Aline Penhallow, Helen’s girlfriend. The almost-incestuous “old-money” families were all related in some way shape or form; Magnus didn’t care beyond establishing that Aline and Helen were, in fact, not related to each other outside of their romantic relationship. The GSA was targeted enough without adding “cousin-fuckers” to the mix. Magnus did not need that kind of nonsense on his executive board, and Helen made an excellent vice president.

All that to say: between Jace and Clary’s blossoming relationship and the new traction the GSA was gaining, Magnus had begun to have a surprising amount of social interaction with the three beautiful Lightwood siblings.

“Magnus, stop staring at Alec Lightwood like you can turn him gay with your eyes,” Ragnor sighed, not even looking at Magnus, who was, indeed, staring at the back of Alec’s head, trying to get a glimpse of his maybe-gouged-out-eyes.

“Look, look, with your special eyes: My brand!” Cat and Simon sang the little advertisement jingle together.

“He can’t turn Lightwood gay because Alec is already gay,” Raphael deadpanned.

“We don’t know that!” Simon cut in. “You can’t stereotype queer people just because you’re also queer, dude, that’s not cool-”

“Blah, blah, blah, I know, I’m oppressing the cis white men, so evil-”

“Isn’t Lightwood, like, half Latino? No way his mom is 100% white.”

“White Latinxs are STILL WHITE PEOPLE , I’m not having this discussion again-”

The chatter at their table had risen to a full on scene, as always, and a few people at nearby tables were staring. The man of the hour himself  walked by then, allowing them all to get a good look at his beautiful face, though Magnus knew Raphael and Simon didn’t even notice, too immersed in their argument to see the amused, almost fond smile on Alec’s face as he met Magnus’ eyes and nodded in acknowledgement.

Alec’s midnight blue eyes were both intact and accounted for, the only discernible difference in his face that Magnus could see was a new looking scar cutting through his left eyebrow. 

---

Magnus did not expect to see those eyes looking directly at him as he started the GSA meeting that day after school. Helen, Aline, Magnus, Cat, Ragnor, Raphael, Simon, and Clary were among the regulars, and Izzy and Jace came by whenever their schedules allowed, but Alec had never shown up except to pick up his siblings afterwards.

He was here now, though, sitting directly across from Magnus in their little circle of chairs, Jace on one side and Izzy on the other. Jace was playing cool but Izzy was beaming, and Magnus wondered if she had worked hard to get Alec into this room. Speculations on Alec’s sexuality aside, Magnus knew that social clubs weren’t exactly the eldest Lightwood’s favorite. Supposedly, Alec had never even been to any of the parties celebrating his own archery team’s wins at nationals.

“Okay, everyone, as always, to start, we’ll go around the room and do names, pronouns, and any other identifying information you want to share, aaaaand our question of the day is-” Magnus gestured to the board behind him, which read: “Sharks or spiders? No context. Just decide.”

" I’ll start: I’m Magnus Bane, I’m the president of the GSA and I’m bisexual. I use he/him/his pronouns aaaaand SHARKS!” Magnus pointed to Helen, who was seated to his right.

“I’m Helen, I use she/her pronouns, I’m also bi, I’m the vice president of the GSA and uhhh, spiders?”

“I’m Aline, she/her, I’m Helen’s girlfriend and I am a whole ass lesbian. Also, spiders, but, like black widow spiders.”

They got through Will, Jem, and Tessa, who all voted sharks and announced themselves as a polyamorous triad, their hands all threaded together.

“I’m Izzy and I use she/her, I’m…Questioning?” Izzy paused and shrugged.

Magnus reminded her gently: “You don’t have to label yourself as anything if you don’t want to. I’m glad you’re here.”

“I’m Alec, I use he/him/his and I’m gay,” his voice was soft but there was an undercurrent like steel. Izzy had tears in her eyes, and a wide, shining smile broke across Jace’s face, his golden eyes alight.  “Also, sharks, because fuck spiders.”

“I’m Jace, I use he/him, and I’m here for my siblings,” his hand was laced with Clary’s but it was Alec and Izzy that had his attention. Clary didn’t seem to mind, as she, too, was smiling warmly at the dark haired Lightwoods.  “And, spiders? I feel like I could take a spider but I don’t know about a shark.”

“No one said you had to decide which one to fight, Jace,” Clary scolded. “I’m Clary, I’m pansexual and I use she/her, I’m gonna say sharks, just to spite Jace.”

Simon, Cat, and Ragnor introduced themselves, and Raphael was last.

“I’m Raphael, I use he/him and I’m aro/ace, if you have any invasive questions I suggest you keep them to yourself if you don’t want to get punched in the face.”

“Rapha, we talked about this, no threatening people during GSA,” Ragnor admonished. 

Raphael shrugged. “I’m over queer gatekeeping and having to justify myself in queer spaces.”

“We’ll do a presentation and panel on A identities later in the semester,” Magnus promised before he lost control of the meeting.

After some discussion of possible events for the year, with members throwing in possible ideas, Magnus adjourned the meeting but encouraged everyone to keep mingling until 5:30, when the late buses would start to arrive to take people home.

By sheer luck, and perhaps some careful maneuvering by his nosy friends, Magnus found himself seated by Alec, a bit removed from the hubbub of the rest of the club.

“Hey,” Magnus said, deliberately keeping his face neutral but kind. “I don’t know if that was the first time you’ve ever come out, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I just wanted to congratulate you.”

Alec smiled, dropping his eyes to the floor to hide the blush Magnus could see creeping up his cheeks and ears. “Thanks. That was the first time I told anyone besides my brother and sister...and… coming from you, it means alot.”

“Coming from me?” Magnus asked, turning to look Alec in the eyes. Alec’s blue eyes flicked up once to meet Magnus’ gold ones and then flicked back down to the ground, his flush deepening to his neck.

“You were like…” Alec shook his head. “When we were in middle school, you came out as bi, and you were like, the first queer person I ever heard of in real life. I didn’t really consider liking guys as, like, as an actual option before you just casually dropped that you were into guys, too.”

“And then Jonathan beat the shit out of me and you remembered why it wasn’t really an option, right?” Magnus asked, his smile sad.

Alec’s eyes met his. “Yeah,” his voice was gruff. “I was so scared for you and for myself and for Izzy, because I knew she had started questioning stuff back then, too, and I didn’t want- I mean- I guess I should’ve came out anyways, since Jonathan was gonna pull a fucking knife on me regardless.”

“So he really pulled a knife on you?”

“Yeah, but all he got was my eyebrow before Jace got him to drop it. He shouldn’t have even been able to get the drop on me at all, but I was so mad, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the fight.”

“You get a few good hits in, at least? I haven’t heard anything about how Jonathan looks right now.”

Alec grinned sharply. “Oh, yeah. I’d say, ‘you should see the other guy,’  except you won’t see him, because my parents had him expelled.” Alec looked directly at Magnus now. “I hope none of us ever see him again, especially you.”

“Why?”

“Because Jonathan’s evil. He doesn’t deserve to witness you, Magnus Bane.” With that, Alec stood, and walked to tap Izzy on the shoulder, nodding his head towards the door.

Izzy followed Alec as he reached the other side of the room and leaned against Jace where he was talking with some of the girls. Jace supported his brother’s weight easily, looking at Izzy when she put a hand on his arm. Jace nodded and the three Lightwood children waved their goodbyes as they began to shuffle out. Clary’s dad had already come to get her, so it was just the three of them walking out in perfect sync: all long limbs, lush hair, and sharp angles. Jace might not have been their blood, but it was obvious in the way the Lightwoods moved that they were a family, a unit.

Magnus wondered what Alec had meant, that Jonathan didn't deserve to witness him.